Madrid, apparently, is a city of art. Its three most prominent and popular museums are art museums. But I noticed when I was there last week that it also seems to be a city of books. I was visiting for work so did not have a whole lot of free time, but we had some evenings to wander the streets. And in doing so I was thrilled to see a great number of bookstores (almost all of which were independent or perhaps small chains). According to UNESCO data, in 2008 Spain published 86,300 new titles, or 1 new book for every 533 Spaniards. The same year the US published 275,232 unique titles, or about 1 new book for every 1089 Americans (or so - I guesstimated the 2008 US population). Not too bad for Spain.
In that bit of research, I also found this headline:
AMERICANS ARE BECOMING SMALL BUYERS OF BOOKS; Per Capita Production of Volumes Here Less Than That of Other Leading Nations --- Poor Methods of Distribution and Modern Amusements Blamed in Part.
Printed in ... 1914.